It's Really Happening!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

We finally survived long enough to actually embark on our vacation!  There were times over the past several weeks when I was beginning to think this day would never truly arrive.

I am writing this on the first leg of our overseas journey, traveling between Dallas-Fort Worth and Boston.  We arrived at DFW super early, which gave us the opportunity to check in stress-free and not have to fight crowds at the TSA checkpoint.  Once at the gate, Gary was able to relax with a brew from Starbuck’s while I walked Terminal C.  It took about 20 minutes to traverse the entire terminal; I suppose I could have done some window shopping since I didn’t have a wallet or purse with me, but I was a little more concerned about making up for the loss of my morning workout and so just kept moving.  There was one store I would like to check out at some point called “Texas Attitude” that had some distinctive and eclectic clothing articles displayed on mannequins with bull and cow heads – eye-catching!

The flight is almost entirely full, and all ages are represented.  Most of the kiddoes are quiet (thankfully!), but there is one little one a few rows back who is alternately vocally excited or upset about just about everything.  Oh, well – at least this isn’t a flight where one would really need to be asleep…


Gary is quasi-crashed out next to me, using one of the super-handy inflatable neck pillows I was able to acquire for this trip.  We did learn a couple of lessons during our journeys to and from Europe last summer, and these easily-packable gadgets seemed like an excellent and inexpensive method for avoiding the dreaded sore neck that so many travelers experience on long flights.  TravelSmith (catalogue or online) is a terrific source of such useful and well-designed products, and they have great sales (just saying; not that I like to shop or anything…)

The very personable young man named Mike in the window seat to my right makes his home in Rockwall (an eastern suburb of Dallas for my non-Texas readers), and is just getting done with a four-day hiatus in his occupation as a “roadie” for such entertainment luminaries as Katy Perry.  Headed to Boston for a gig, he told us about a must-visit restaurant in Paris called “Robert et Louise,” which he maintains is one of the great steak places on the planet.  We may just have to make it a point to jump ship for one of the meals in the city and put it to the test.  After all, we do know a few things about beef in the Lone Star State – it will be interesting to see if a French chef can teach us some new tricks!

Think I’ll wrap up for now, with the thought of maybe writing some more in Boston or on the place to Europe – later!

7:53 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time
Somewhere Over the Northern Atlantic

After a relatively brief layover in Boston (which was brilliantly sunny, unlike the rainy Dallas we left behind), we boarded the jet that is carrying us to Charles de Gaulle Airport.  At first we were seated next to a goateed young man with gorgeous eyes from a small town south of Paris, who is studying International Business at university.  Pierre spends 3 months every year in Miami and has, as a result, become functionally tri-lingual (French, English and Spanish)!  He also advised us, with typical Gallic understatement, that Paris is “nice.”

I say we “were” seated next to him but, because the plane is blissfully uncrowded, he was able to change seats so that no one had to sit three across.  So now he is sound asleep in front of me because, as he told us, he prefers to sleep as opposed to knowing he is on a plane!  I guess not all of us are born travelers even in the jet age.

We were served a small but tasty dinner (and no, I don’t know how many points it was!), and have each been provided with very serviceable headsets so we can tap into the widely varied audio channels available.  It’s lovely to be able to listen to a suite from Gabriel Faur√©’s Masques et Bergamasques as we speed toward this late Romantic composer’s homeland.  (And, as Gary was happy to point out, without interjections from apoplectic infants!)

It is now almost full dark outside, with just a trace of yellow, orange, and burnt umber fading from the cloudless blue sky down to the horizon.  The Captain informed us earlier that he is projecting a smooth flight that will take somewhat less time than has been budgeted for it, so that we will touch down on French soil just a few minutes after 7:00 a.m. local time.  We’re in the process of passing through so many time zones that it’s a bit hard to say what time it is where we are, but my watch is showing just about half past eight.  It hasn’t been a particularly long day, but the sitting for so long does take its toll on the joints and the psyche.  I have a feeling that we Graysons will not have too much difficulty getting the sleep that eluded us last night in our anticipation of this much-needed break in the summer doldrums.  So, with that, I will sign off for the evening and call it a day…

Au revoir!

Satellite Views of Our Trip...Paris to Normandy via the Seine River


Yellow dot is the Viking in Paris, red "A" is the Eifel Tower


The  "Notre Dame Cathedral" at Rouen



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